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DiCicco vs DRPA – See the VIDEO!

August 18, 2010

New Jersey Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (R-Gloucester and Camden) and Pennsylvania Representative Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) have taken the first steps in reforming the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) by sponsoring bi-state legislation to change the agency’s federal charter. 

The legislation will help put a stop to the corrupt behavior that has become the norm for the DRPA.  Over the past several weeks, the DRPA has come under heavy public scrutiny for mismanagement and a lack of transparency regarding the agency’s policies.  Recent revelations include the misuse of E-Z Pass transponders by a former top agency official, inappropriate use of agency vehicles, a lack of any outside audits of the agency’s finances, questionable Christmas bonus practices and the agency’s refusal to implement an expanded ethics code seven years ago. 

“The notoriety of what has taken place at the DRPA demands that sweeping reforms be enacted in order to restore the public confidence,”

said DiCicco. 

“A thorough review of the authority’s operation, including its management practices and internal controls is critical if we are to correct the problems that pervade this operation.  I believe that in order to end the widespread instances of mismanagement, self-serving decisions and allegations of corruption at the authority, a change in leadership is necessary to ensure these practices are not repeated.  Representative Vereb and I are determined to put an end to the appalling laxity in oversight and highly questionable judgment which has come to symbolize the DRPA.”

“For too long the DRPA’s top officials have used the agency for their own personal or political gain, abusing their positions of power and public trust,”

Vereb said.

“The people deserve better. The reforms put forth by Assemblyman DiCicco and I will shine a light on this agency that has been clouded in corruption for years. These reforms will limit the perks and make agency officials more accountable to the public. The writing is on the wall: DRPA’s days of no accountability are over.”

The reforms in the bi-state legislation are based on suggestions made by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

 The reforms include:

  • Making the agency more transparent and open to the public by:
    • Adopting an open records policy.
    • Providing 30 days public notice prior to any vote concerning a contract.
    • Prohibiting negotiating, extending or altering a contract unless the action is taken by the board at a public meeting.
    • Requiring board members to file financial interest statements and identify any potential conflicts of interest in writing in advance of board meetings.
    • Requiring annual budget audits, biannual performance audits and a biannual review of compensation for all DRPA employees.
    • Requiring venders to disclose a list of political contributions for the prior four years.
    • Requiring board approval of charitable contributions by board members and officers.
    • Prohibiting the ability of the DRPA to engage in economic development activity.
    • Prohibiting DRPA officers and employees (at the director level and higher) from being employed by an entity that does business with DRPA for two years after the individual leaves DRPA service.
    • Prohibiting separate caucus meetings for Pennsylvania and New Jersey members.
    • Prohibiting officers and employees at the director level or higher to hold outside employment.
    • Prohibiting political activity using DRPA time or resources.
    • Requiring the use of best practices in procurement and the acceptance of bid proposals online.
    • Prohibiting any transaction or professional activity and engaging in any outside business that presents a conflict of interest with DRPA duties.

 

  • Limiting DRPA board member, officer and employee perks by:
    • Prohibiting vehicle allowances, toll exemptions, and any lump sum expense allowances.
    • Prohibiting any personal lines of credit from the DRPA.
    • Prohibiting the acceptance of any gifts that could affect the conduct of DRPA business.
    • Prohibiting the hiring of immediate family members of current commissioners, officers or employees.
    • Prohibiting salaries to be higher than the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

 

The proposed legislation also eliminates four of the Pennsylvania governor’s six appointees and gives each of the four caucuses in the Pennsylvania General Assembly one appointee, providing for additional legislative oversight of the appointment process.  A PATCO Commuter’s Council would be created to advise the DRPA.

In order to change the DRPA’s federal charter, identical legislation must be enacted in both states and approved by the federal government.  DiCicco’s and Vereb’s offices have been working closely together to ensure that each reform is properly worded and placed in both pieces of legislation.

The DRPA is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance four bridges crossing the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the PATCO commuter rail line between South Jersey and Philadelphia.  This $300-million-a year bi-state agency is funded by the $4 tolls that commuters pay to cross the bridges.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:03 pm

    I love love love Assemblyman DiCicco and I love his friend and collegue Eugene Lawrence. Thank you for making us proud to be in NJ. Because of you guys, my wife and I are holding on to hope that this system will change. Keep up the good work.

  2. JerseyDevil permalink
    August 19, 2010 7:08 am

    DiCicco for US SENATE…2012!

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